March 06, 2009

MYTH: Training Local Police to Enforce Immigration Law Will Make our Communities Safer

FACT: Engaging in 287(g) programs can be costly to the local police department. Three months after Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopia County partnered with ICE, the office had created a $1.3 million deficit. By the end of the first month of the partnership, deputies began working 4,500 extra hours every two-week pay period (compared to 2,900 extra hours previously). In April 2007, deputies worked more than 9,000 overtime hours at a cost to the county of $373,757.

FACT: Staffing the immigration beat pulls police officers away from their other duties. In Maricopa County in 2006 and 2007, patrol cars arrived late two-thirds of the time on more than 6,000 of the most serious calls for service. In order to staff the immigration team, Sheriff Arpaio pulled deputies off patrol beats and used them to staff the human-smuggling unit. Every patrol district, the trails and lake divisions, and central investigations bureau all lost deputies. Armed with fewer deputies, the districts’ response times to emergency calls increased.

More mythbusting facts on this issue can be found in the IPC’s Immigration Fact Check entitled “What Happens When Local Cops Become Immigration Agents?”

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09030461 (posted Mar. 4, 2009)